A Clearwater Beach Hotel Rips Me Off

The Saga of a Horrible Clearwater Beach Hotel

Not long after I crawled out of bed this morning there was a knock at the door. The mailman needed a signature on a certified, insured package. “I hope it’s my camera charger and battery,” I thought. Indeed it was. I had inadvertently left it plugged into the wall at a Clearwater Beach hotel when I was traveling through Florida last week and the owner had made good on his promise to send it to me.

Canon Battery Charger

Canon Battery Charger

I immediately ripped open the butcher block paper that covered the box and, noting that the address was incorrect, silently thanked my Dad’s mailman for delivering it to the right address. Beneath the paper was a cigar box filled with chunks of soft Styrofoam. Nestled in the center of the packing material was my battery charger and spare battery, along with a note directing me to send $20 the owner of the hotel.

“Twenty bucks!” I thought. “That’s a little pricey.” I smoothed out the butcher paper and discovered that the postage actually cost him $11.70. My immediate reaction was that I was being ripped off. My next thought was that this was the hotel room where the tub faucet spit dirt and gravel, the pipes clanked, the room was poorly cleaned, and on my final day I had no water at all, so I had to leave without even taking a shower. When I calmed down, I tried to look at the issue as fairly as possible. What was a reasonable charge for an old cigar box, a bit of brown wrapping paper, some Styrofoam packing material, and the time to wrap and deliver the package to the post office? Was the guy really trying to rip me off or is $8.30 a fair price?

I often criticize people who look for someone else to blame rather than taking responsibility for their own actions. When a person falls into a hole in the sidewalk, their first action is usually to sue the municipality and/or the property owner. What about their responsibility? Why weren’t they watching where they were walking? The same may be true here. I left my charger and battery at this hotel. No one else is to blame. The fact that it was a marginal hotel really does not factor into the equation. The only real issue is what would be a fair price for the services provided.

Surely, I will send a check to reimburse him for the amount of the postage. As for the rest, I don’t know. If the situation had been reversed, I would have asked to be repaid only for the postage. My inclination is to throw in a couple extra bucks for the packing and his time – perhaps $15 would be a reasonable amount. But I just don’t know. I’d love to hear your opinions on the matter. I can wait a couple of days before I send the guy a check.

11 Comments on “The Saga of a Horrible Clearwater Beach Hotel

  1. For what it’s now worth – a big nothing!

    I’d have sent him the money he asked for but with a note ‘suggesting’ he has a look at the issues you had at his hotel – because “If I were manager I would want to know when customers weren’t happy so I could put things right.”

    But then again that’s just a few more minutes of time wasted on something insignificant in the scheme of things,

    No, just send the men the money.

    oh you did!

    Gail’s last blog post..Oh How We Laughed!

  2. well, I have come to this late, but I am astonished that anyone would grudge someone what is less than one minimum wage hour to retrieve your property, package it, and send it off to you. The plumbing in his hotel is completely irrelevant.

    He didn’t need to send it. He picked up the pieces after your carelessness, asked you to pay actual costs and a tiny contribution to his time, and you whine about it. Geez.

    Now your comments have come closer to running the gamut.

    Duchess’s last blog post..The food chain

  3. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to comment. Your opinions ran the gamut, so I have decided to take the middle ground. I’m sending the guy $20 with a note of thanks and calling it a day. I must also add that the owner of the hotel actually called me yesterday to make sure I got the package. I thought it was pretty nice thing to do!, but Dad thinks he just called to make sure he was gonna get his twenty bucks!

  4. Time is the most valuable assett we own. Time was spent on retrieving the charger, packaging, and going to the post office (at Christmas time this alone is worth $20)to mail the package. I would send a note with a great big thank you and $25, maybe he could put the extra towards plumbing issues. Be grateful you got it back, he could have said it was not there.

  5. I would send a thank you note and the money for postage. I would also tell them you are even since you had no water in your room during your stay and the room wasn’t very clean.

  6. Hmm…I’d send the 20 bucks, and a copy of any reviews you write about his hotel. 🙂

    MudslideMama’s last blog post..Celebrity Sightings in Aspen

  7. Send him the $20 with a note that thanks him for his time. Throw in a “Merry Christmas” for good measure. That’s it. Period. Let it go.

  8. Considering the crappy experience you had at his hotel, I totally agree with your initial reaction as mine would have been the same. However, Ellie has an excellent point and 20-bucks for your charger and battery… How much would you have had to pay for replacements?

    Send a gracious note with $20 for the return of your property and enjoy your Holiday. 🙂

    Shanna’s last blog post..A Different Christmas Poem

  9. Hmmm…my first reaction was exactly yours. That’s some rounding up! Then I read the comments. Colleen’s is good, but the nickels would cost you a bundle in postage so that’s out. And Ellie has a point, but these days a dollar is a dollar! I think $15 is more than fair. I’d insert a thank you note with it and then be done with it. I mean, what’s the guy going to do? And of course, never stay at that hotel again….

  10. I agree, $8 is a lot for an old box, some styrofoam, and a few moments of his time. If I were you, I’d ill him with kindness… send him the $20… in nickels… in his old cigar box. Clearly it is valuable to him 😉

  11. Send the $20 bucks and don’t let the guy rent any more space in your head. I doubt you can change him..maybe someone else will leave something and he’ll send it on to them if he gets your money. I would put in a note that you think it’s unreasonable. And move on! Merry Christmas! Ellie

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